OSF Saint Francis receives $1.1 million grant to help victims of violent crime

Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF, chairperson of OSF HealthCare, speaks at a press conference March 29 announcing that OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria will establish a Trauma Recovery Center in partnership with Peoria Public Schools to assist victims of violent crimes. Looking on are Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, left, superintendent of Peoria Public Schools, and state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-92nd), a sponsor of the legislation that resulted in a $1.1 million grant to establish the center at Manual Academy in Peoria. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria announced March 29 it has been selected to receive a $1.1 million grant to help children and adult victims of violent crimes recover not only from physical wounds but the lingering psychological and emotional ones as well.

OSF will partner with Peoria Public Schools to establish a Trauma Recovery Center based at Manual Academy, 811 S. Griswold St. The center will specifically focus on residents in the 61605 zip code on Peoria’s south side, one of the most economically disadvantaged areas in the state.

The center is a community-wide collaboration “that will have a significant and positive impact on Peoria’s most marginalized and underserved population,” said Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF, chairperson of OSF HealthCare, during a press conference at Manual Academy.


The grant, renewable for three years, is from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and is part of a major criminal reform package sponsored in 2017 by state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-92nd) of Peoria.

The project fits the healing mission of OSF HealthCare, said Dr. Mike Cruz, regional CEO.

The collaborative project fits the healing mission of OSF HealthCare, said Dr. Mike Cruz, regional CEO. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

“The psychological effects of violence can leave just as many wounds as physical acts,” he said. “What happens to the victims of violent crimes once they leave the hospital? What do they go home to, and how do they heal from those wounds?”

The Trauma Recovery Center, set to open at the start of the 2018-19 school year, will provide students and adults the services they need to “defy the odds” and recover hope, self-worth, and purpose, said Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, superintendent of Peoria Public Schools.

“We live in an imperfect world,” she said. “We have to contend with things like incarceration, poverty, violence, and homelessness.” The services offered at the Trauma Recovery Center will “help our students and their families productively unpack the baggage life has given them, and the staff will help them pack it back in a way that strengthens them and helps them have a great future.”

She praised OSF representatives for taking the organizational lead and for supplying the mental health professionals, including psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists.


Rep. Gordon-Booth said the center will help repair “wounds of the soul.”

“We are standing in a community in this zip code that is without question one of the most harmed communities in this state and also one of the least served,” she said at the press conference. The bipartisan legislation that led to the grant “requires all of us to give our best to give the people what they deserve.”

Sister Judith Ann said that is exactly what is happening, listing more than a dozen community organizations that are partnering to support the pilot project.

“Today is a magnificent day where we can be proud of Peoria and collectively what we’re going to be able to do with God’s help and support and all of your passion and love for this very special population . . . particularly our children,” she said.



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